This was originally supposed to have been published in Alamance Magazine before it ceased publication. However, I’d like to share it with you now. It was meant for their February run, so it’s a little aged. Still the same sentiments of love though.
The Last Kitchen Tip
It’s comforting sitting in her dining room chair right now – just feet from the kitchen. There’s so much I want to tell her, to share with her, and to enjoy with her. See, Maw-Maw passed away on December 17th. She was my confidant, my friend, my grandmother. Life changed after she passed that day. It changed in ways I would never be able to explain to you.
Her love for cooking and her family was always apparent. Her kitchen was where I learned my love of cooking. I learned an incredible amount in her kitchen. There were old Southern tips and tricks, cookbooks used, and I learned just exactly what a “pinch” and a “dash” are in a recipe. Those were tricky to grasp at first. All in all, there were tons of smiles in this kitchen. They were smiles that I will treasure forever and ever, and wish I could still share them with her today.
The Sunday before she passed, she called me. I was busy making homemade cinnamon rolls for the first time…that’s right, from scratch. I hadn’t dabbled much in yeast. That just isn’t my thing. But, I wanted to learn. Little did I know, and I should have read my recipe thoroughly, that my dough would have to sit overnight. Being a little on the impatient side in the kitchen, I wasn’t looking forward to the waiting time. But, my best advocate in the kitchen was on the phone. I had to ask for suggestions.
I explained my predicament to her, and she offered a little piece of advice. If I placed the pan of dough on the eye of the stove that “releases” heat from inside the oven, then cover it with a large pyrex dish that would completely cover the pan, and finally a couple of towels, it should speed up the yeast and my dough would rise faster. Now I know this isn’t exactly what a Baker would do, but sometimes a little bit of good Southern tricks can come in handy. I did as I was instructed, and in about three and a half hours, my dough was perfectly ready to make my cinnamon rolls.
Maw-Maw would always send me kitchen tips through email. She was a very tech savvy Grandma. A lot of that came from us grandchildren showing her the ins and outs over the years. A few hours after the dough tip, she called again. She was reading through her emails and had another kitchen tip for me. She told me to always put a wooden spoon over a pot of boiling noodles and it would keep the pot from boiling over. Little did I know that it would be the last kitchen tip she would give me.
It wasn’t all about kitchen tips with her; there were life tips as well. While I’d love to share them with you, those are tips that are from a grandmother to her granddaughter, and I only pray that you have someone to share that bond with in your own life…to learn your own life tips.
Sadly, I’m not sure what to do in life without a grandparent anymore. But, I know I’m not the only one that has experienced this heart ache. In that thought, I find peace that life will improve and her spirit will live on with me for the rest of my days. I also find peace that I know God will reunite us all one day, and Maw-Maw will have a cookie jar full of her delicious chocolate chip cookies waiting on us – although, I may have to request some of her Apple Turnovers or homemade stuffed Oatmeal Cookies. But mostly, I’ll request a warm Maw-Maw hug for the soul. They always made everything better.